Some Thoughts on Minimalist Scrapbooking
As I look through my 2020 albums, I can see that my style has become even more simple and pared down. There's a sameness to my pages that I wasn't really conscious of when making them and that I'm not unhappy about. This could be a natural progression or maybe it's the result of living through this pandemic and feeling the need to get back to basics in all aspects of my life. This constant urge to simplify.
How do I define minimalist scrapbooking? Making layouts that focus on the words and photos without much product or embellishing. As my scrapbooking has evolved, these are the kinds of pages I want to make and the kinds of pages I like to see in my books.
Minimalism is not for everyone. I don't think it's a better way to document, it's just the style I've come to love and be comfortable with. Our hobby is very product-driven and like everyone, I am excited and inspired by new releases. But I know what I can work with and what makes me happy so I've learned to become a more discerning buyer (even when I love all the things). I happily ooh and aah over other people's product-heavy pages or messy, artful layouts but I can't carry it off. I'm staying in my lane. Most of the digital products I buy also have a minimal aesthetic (some of my favourites are Paislee Press, Cathy Zielske, In A Creative Bubble, Kerri Bradford and Kellie Stamps).
Minimalism doesn't have to mean boring or basic. It's a creative challenge to choose the perfect photo, text and embellishment combination to create a balanced and beautiful minimal layout.
So how do I go about creating a minimalist scrapbook page?
First, I try to drill down to get to the basic story. A simple page works best with a simple concept. I take some time to get my journaling just right.
Along this line, I try and stick with one or two photos to tell the story or create the mood I want, even if its not technically the 'best' photo or the expected photo. For example, I might choose the messy table with the empty dishes for a dinner party story over the group shot of us all smiling because it's just more interesting. Or I might use the slightly-blurry long shot of the outdoor wedding reception over the official bride and groom pic because it has more feeling to me. I think sometimes we as scrapbookers get hung up on trying to include all of our fantastic photos on a layout when one can be enough and might even tell a better, clearer story.
I always start with a blank white (or neutral) canvas and try and keep a lot of white space in my finished layout. I am someone who can't cope well with clutter in my everyday life and my pages are no different.
I like to keep the colours quite neutral and harmonious, but often add a bright accent colour to create some interest. If I'm being honest, I could totally stick to a black, white and beige palette for life and be happy. But adding some blue, red or yellow is a good thing.
I often embellish my page, then take some of it back off. Sometimes I take all of it back off. Especially if I feel like I've added something just for the sake of it. As Coco Chanel said "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off". Digital scrapbooking makes this a lot easier.
I also use text as a design element, playing around with my titles and journaling so it becomes part of the layout rather than an afterthought. I like to stick with a few favourite fonts throughout my books. This gives everything a cohesive look but also takes away some of the decision-making that can slow me down.
My end goal is to have a clean and uncluttered layout that tells a clear story. I don't always get there but it's good to have a vision. When I look back through my old scrapbook albums its always the photo and the story I am drawn to, not the products, so I'm happy my scrapbooking journey has ended up here.
Thanks for reading! S